Teas contain antioxidants called catechins that may help prevent the cell damage that leads to disease. Green tea is minimally processed, which helps it maintain its catechin content and antioxidant activity. Drinking green tea has been linked to lower blood cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It may also help stabilize blood sugar in those with diabetes. Just remember that many of these benefits are for steeped green tea leaves, not pre-made bottled drinks that are often loaded with sugar.
Black teas are made from fermented tea leaves. This causes black tea to have fewer catechins than unprocessed green tea. Despite this, the tea still has antioxidant power and has been linked to repairing lung damage caused by cigarette smoke. It may also protect against stroke.
Chai is a black tea that is made with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and black pepper. While chai has the same benefits of all black teas, many of the spices added also contain phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. Choose unsweetened loose leaf and bagged varieties to save the calories and excess sugar that is often added to pre-made mixes and chai lattes.
White tea is an unfermented tea composed of immature tea leaves. Due to the minimal processing, white tea is high in catechins and is known for having one of the highest antioxidant contents among teas. White tea has been linked to a reduced risk for cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been found to protect against the breakdown of elastin and collagen in the skin that is associated with age-related wrinkles.